1. What is Google Person Finder?
  2. When and why did Google build Google Person Finder?
  3. Is Google Person Finder a project of Google.org?
  4. How does Google.org decide whether or not to launch Google Person Finder in response to a disaster?
  5. Who has access to the Google Person Finder data?
  6. How does Google keep Google Person Finder records up to date?
  7. Can I subscribe to status updates for a specific person in Google Person Finder?
  8. How can I get my organization’s data integrated into Google Person Finder?
  9. How long does a record last in Google Person Finder?
  10. What happens to the data when the crisis has subsided?
  11. How can I help improve Google Person Finder?
  1. What is Google Person Finder?

    Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster. The program also lets press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others contribute to the database and receive updates by using the Person Finder API based on the PFIF open standard. In addition, websites can choose to embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages. Google Person Finder is open source software meaning that any developer can create their own instance of Google Person Finder after a disaster. Person Finder runs on the Google App Engine platform, and it has been launched in over 40 languages. We do our best to make sure it’s available in the most commonly spoken languages in disaster prone countries.

  2. When and why did Google build Google Person Finder?

    Google engineers built Google Person Finder in response to the January 2010 Haiti earthquake in order to help those affected by the earthquake connect with their loved ones. In 2005, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, multiple websites created missing person registries, so families and aid workers had to search in multiple places when looking for information. Google Person Finder addresses this problem by accepting data from other registries in a common format and searching over all the data. The common format is called PFIF, and it was established by volunteers of the Katrina People Finder Project.

  3. Is Google Person Finder a project of Google.org?

    Yes. Google Person Finder is a project of the Google Crisis Response division of Google.org.
  4. How does Google.org decide whether or not to launch Google Person Finder in response to a disaster?

    Google Person Finder is one of the tools that the Google Crisis Response team uses. The Google Crisis Response team analyzes the scale of impact of the disaster and then determines which of its tools would be most useful for responding to the given situation.

  5. Who has access to the Google Person Finder data?

    All data entered into Google Person Finder is available to the public and searchable and accessible by anyone. Google does not review or verify the accuracy of the data. The standard Google Terms of Service apply to all users of Google Person Finder.

    If you are interested in exporting records or performing automatic searches, you can do so by applying for a read or search API key. To learn more about API keys and various access levels visit the Data API page.

  6. How does Google keep Google Person Finder records up to date?

    Google Person Finder depends on individual users to update and remove records when no longer relevant. Users can also report spam, offensive content, or incorrect information. Google is not responsible for updating the data and does not make any guarantees about its accuracy.

  7. Can I subscribe to status updates for a specific person in Google Person Finder?

    Yes. Google Person Finder allows you to subscribe to status updates on a particular person. You can subscribe to status updates by clicking the Subscribe to updates about this person button on any record. If the status of the person is updated on the record in Google Person Finder, Google will send you an email to inform you of the new status.

  8. How can I get my organization’s data integrated into Google Person Finder?

    Google Person Finder uses an API key model to help keep track of who provides what information. If you have data to contribute to Google Person Finder you can upload it by applying for an API key with write access. For more information on how to use the API and keys and various access levels visit the Data API page.

  9. How long does a record last in Google Person Finder?

    When a user creates a record in Google Person Finder, they are required to set an expiration date for that record. The record will expire at that date, meaning it will be unable to be viewed or located by users of Google Person Finder and will be deleted in accordance with the PFIF standard and our Privacy Policy. At any time, any user is able to extend the expiration date or request deletion of the record. Several months after a crisis has subsided, we take down the Google Person Finder repository for that crisis and in essence expire all the records. For more information on what happens to the data, see the FAQ: What happens to the data when the crisis has subsided?

  10. What happens to the data when the crisis has subsided?

    We want to balance the usefulness of being able to search for a friend or relative with the privacy concerns of making missing person records available on the internet. So, we intend for each Google Person Finder repository to be up for a limited time. After the immediate crisis has passed and more usual forms of communication are able to serve the need, we take down the Google Person Finder repository, and delete the data in accordance with our Privacy Policy to protect individual privacy.

  11. How can I help improve Google Person Finder?

    Google Person Finder is an open source project, hosted on Google Code at http://code.google.com/p/googlepersonfinder/. We invite you to contribute and participate in improving the product for future crisis events.

    If you have specific technical issues to report please fill out the technical issue form. If you have general feedback for our team, please fill out our feedback form.

    If you have more questions about Google Person Finder or a general discussion to start, please join our discussion group.